Home of the Brave by Katherine Applegate is the story of an African boy, Kek, who loses his father and a brother and flees, leaving his mother to secure his safety. Kek, now in Minnesota, is faced with difficulties of adapting to a new life and of finding his lost mother. He believes that his mother still lives and would soon join him in the new found family. Kek is taken from the airport by a caregiver who takes him to live with his aunt. It is here that Kek meets all that amazed him compared to his home in Sudan, Africa. Home of the brave shows conflicts that Kek faces. He is caught between two worlds, Africa and America. He feels guilty leaving behind his people to live in a distant land especially his mother, who he left in the midst of an attack.
It is evident from the book that only Kek and his mother managed to survive the strategy, a mother whom he misses so much. Kek is now in his new environment in America, where he experiences snow for the first time in his life and feels its sting. It becomes hard for him to adjust as the snow’s brightness is burns his eyes, and the cold is likened to claws in his skin. As life begins tougher, he opt to help his aunt by washing dishes, yet no one ever told him that the washing machine was only meant for cleaning clothes (Applegate, 18).
There are many conflicts in his mind, considering the differences he notices between Africa and America. Seeing the snow, Kek wonders if the people in this new setting will be as unkind and cold as the winter itself. Further, his desire to be like one of the Americans continues, when he meets an old woman by the name Lou, who lives on a neglected farm, and she owns a cow. The image of a cow becomes very important to Kek, as it gives him an African i...
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...and has hope that a day will come when she will join him in America. In the long run, Kek and his two friends; Lou and Gol help him adjust to his new American life as well as the joy and pain that he will go through along the way (Applegate, 42). Towards the end, his mother comes to Minnesota and they make it a new home.
In Conclusion, the book Home of the Brave reflects Kek’s simple way of learning and adapting to a new language, culture, and experiences. From the content above, it is proven that Kek is lost between his identities and wants to be American in the same time. This is a very sensitive narration that covers most of the issues faced by new migrants from developing countries; from misinterpretation of appliances, to the hardships to learn English, and finally, racism.
Applegate, Katherine. Home of the Brave. Macmillan, 2007.